Department Of Interior

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Office of the Secretary
Mark Pfeifle at 202-208-6416
For Immediate Release: Dec. 31, 2003
Kathryn Harrington at 202-208-3568

Secretary Norton Saddles up for Rose Bowl Parade, Highlights New Year's Volunteer Pledge Drive

With Saddle Bags Bulging with Pledges, Take Pride in America Announces Nearly 400,000 Volunteer Hours For California Forest Fire Restoration


(PASADENA, CALIF.) - U.S. Interior Secretary Gale Norton and kids from WOW-Wonderful Outdoor World will ride on horseback in the Tournament of Roses Parade New Year's Day to highlight the nearly 400,000 volunteer hours pledged to work on public lands devastated by this year's forest fires in California.

"Californians and the land and wildlife that they love suffered enormously from one of the worst wildland fires in history," Secretary Norton said. "Tens of thousands of people from throughout the region have selflessly volunteered to rebuild our communities, restore our lands and renew our spirits."

Take Pride in America, working with Southern California Friends of Take Pride, initiated a New Year's Resolution Volunteer Pledge Drive to solicit 10 hours per volunteer for work on some 730,000 acres burned this fall. Volunteers will help plant trees, clean up recreation sites, restore trails and perform other tasks needed to rehabilitate damaged land. Four hundred thousand volunteer hours is the equivalent of more than 190 full-time employees working for a year.

In addition to individual commitments, the effort netted 25,000 hours from WOW-Wonderful Outdoor World kids, an urban camping program designed to bring the great outdoors to children in their neighborhood parks; 100,000 hours from the Good Sam Club, a member-based organization committed to making RVing safer and more enjoyable; 150,000 hours from the nine recreation organizations led by the California Four Wheel Drive Association; 60,000 hours from the Girl Scouts of San Gorgonio Council; and 10,000 hours from the National Forest Recreation Association.

Secretary Norton announced the volunteer totals at Pasadena's Rosemont Pavilion along with Marti Allbright, Take Pride in America executive director; Bill Bogaard, mayor of Pasadena; Sue Bray, Good Sam Club executive director; John Stewart, director of environmental affairs for the United Four Wheel Drive Associations and other partners.

Take Pride in America is a national partnership that aims to seek, support and recognize volunteers who work to improve our national parks, wildlife refuges, public lands, cultural and historic sites, playgrounds and other recreation areas. With more than 100 partners, Take Pride involves federal, state, and local government; conservation and recreation organizations; and top national corporations. Together, we protect and enhance the special legacy all Americans share - our public lands that cover one in every three acres across the nation. Find out more about volunteering and Take Pride in America at


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